Metro Manila, Philippines – With the landmark Renewable Energy Act incentivizing renewable energy utilization through net metering, users of grid-tied solar energy systems automatically sell excess solar energy back to the distribution utility (DU) - for example, Meralco - in exchange for peso credits on their bill. These credits can then be used at the end of each month to pay for and decrease charges on the overall electric bill.
However, at an average selling price of PHP 5.00 against the buying price of PHP11.00, many owners of solar energy systems feel it as an inadequate compensation for the excess energy they generate that is fed back into the grid.
“[A] simple policy change will accelerate the adoption of solar in our country,” Richard B. Tantoco, president and chief operating officer of Energy Development Corporation said during the virtual BusinessWorld Insights: Kickstarting Green Recovery event.
“Since the government [and] DUs treat net metering customers as power generators, then they must be compensated equitably. Solar PV rooftops offset electricity sourced from peaking plants, paid at a premium rate, and as such these should be the reference price for exported energy,” Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) President Riedo A. Panaligan said.
Michigan Technological University professor Joshua Pearce and graduate student Koami Soulemane Hayibo recently published their findings that grid-tied solar energy system owners are actually subsidizing their neighbors who are solely relying on the grid.
"Anyone who puts up solar is being a great citizen for their neighbors and for their local utility," Pearce said, noting that when someone puts up grid-tied solar panels, they are essentially investing in the grid itself. "Customers with solar distributed generation are making it so utility companies don't have to make as many infrastructure investments, while at the same time solar shaves down peak demands when electricity is the most expensive."
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